“The Body of Christ and Mental Illness” seeks to raise awareness of the challenges of mental illness, offer reflection and direction, and inspire action. This social message notes how mental illness makes the most basic aspects of everyday life daunting and sketches some of the challenges. These include the challenges to human dignity and difficulties in gaining access to treatment, problems that worsen existing social inequalities and lapses in the U.S. health care system.
The message puts to rest the notions that mental illness is an indicator of special sin in the family or the person suffering from it. It emphasizes the church's role in encouraging companionship and healing, via restoration of relationships — heeding Galatians 6:2. What people with mental illness most need is time to pursue and engage in treatment, and to maintain or create relationships where they can exercise their abilities. Throughout the many forms of ministry the church provides, the church is called to confront practices that do not uphold human dignity and to offer hope and companionship, and attend to its own practices around health, its public voice, and the sensitive and thoughtful preparation of church leaders.
You can read or download the full social message on “The Body of Christ and Mental Illness.” This social message was adopted in 2012 by the Church Council of the ELCA.
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